Field Hockey Goes 1-1 Over Weekend


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Anne Drabbe had three assists and one goal in Villanova’s win over Saint Francis.

Brooke Ackerman, Staff Writer

Villanova field hockey came out of this past weekend 1-1, falling to Providence on Friday, 5-2, but coming back to its home turf on Sunday to defeat Saint Francis, 4-1. 

In their first conference game of the season, the women struggled to keep up with the speed of the Friars, giving up a quick goal just four minutes into the game. 

A scoreless second quarter allowed the Wildcats to keep it to a one goal game, but the Friars went into the second half with a burst of adrenaline, scoring two quick goals just nine minutes apart to take a 3-0 lead. 

In the second half, freshman forward Toni Minichello was taken down with just five minutes left in the third quarter, awarding the Wildcats a penalty stroke. Junior back Sabine de Ruijter took advantage of the opportunity and scored with ease, sending a laser in the top left corner to finally get ‘Nova on the board. 

The momentum from the late third quarter goal left the Wildcats fired up. Using their burst of energy, the women were able to capitalize again as sophomore midfielder Emma Schwarz sent the ball into play, allowing senior forward Maggie Mick to redirect it past the Providence goalie to lessen the Friars’ lead to just one goal. 

Only four minutes remained in the game, so head coach Joanie Milhous made the decision to pull goalkeeper Emma Lepert from the net, giving the Wildcats an extra player. However, these tactics backfired as Providence earned a penalty corner and scored to further its lead to 4-2. 

The Friars then scored one more to solidify their lead and end the game, 5-2. 

Milhous described the loss as a “disappointing game.” 

“We made some adjustments on our press, but they had a shift on us,” Milhous said. “We tried to shift a couple of our girls, and that definitely helped, but it was a little too late. We had dug ourselves a hole.” 

After the Friday afternoon defeat, the Wildcats looked to revamp for their upcoming game against St. Francis, and immediately got back to work with an early Saturday morning practice. 

“We’ve been in the same boat before where we had a disappointing Big East loss on a Friday,” Milhous said. “My whole goal was to get them back up and motivated for Sunday, so it wasn’t a total dip of a weekend. We agreed that Friday is behind us and we need to show our talent and get on the board early next game.” 

And that’s exactly what the Wildcats did. 

In the game against Saint Francis on Sunday, Villanova played a scoreless first quarter but came out hot in the second, scoring three goals in just 15 minutes of play. 

The first goal came from graduate transfer Makenna Maguire, assisted by a pair of sophomore midfielders, Anne Drabbe and de Ruijter, off a corner. Drabbe then followed up her assist by sending one into the back of the net herself. Less than two minutes later, Drabbe got herself on the scoresheet for a third time in the quarter, assisting senior forward Amanda Middleman in her goal. 

“She’s a key player for us,” Milhous said of Drabbe. “She makes sure to get something out of every possession she has, just always being deliberate with the ball and very competitive.” 

Drabbe continued to showcase her skills in the third quarter as well, assisting junior forward Meghan Mitchell for the Wildcats’ fourth goal of the game. 

“Consistency is the biggest thing with her,” Milhous said about Mitchell. “Whether she’s the playmaker to start the goal, or the finisher, her overall work rate is always 110%. She just shows up every day, whether it’s practice or a game.” 

The fourth quarter of the game was an exciting one for the Wildcats, as Milhous pulled all her starters besides Leppert, replacing them with her entire freshman squad. 

“For every other field player to get in I thought was fantastic, I just loved it,” Milhous said. “These girls have been working hard, and I wanted to show them that we see it and give them an opportunity.”

For the freshmen Wildcats, they got a chance to showcase their skills at home, which has proved to be a massive advantage for the team this season. Villanova remains undefeated on home turf, which Milhous considers to be “one of the best fields in the country.” 

With a great atmosphere and the ability to draw a crowd, the Wildcats have been able to make home turf a “comfort zone.” 

“There’s a comfort level in knowing okay this is our home,” Milhous explained. “This is where we’ve accomplished many goals, this is where we’ve worked really hard, and this is where we are going to win games.” 

The Wildcats will be able to take full advantage of their home field advantage this upcoming Friday as they take on Temple. 

Heading into the matchup against the 7-1-0 Owls, Milhous said that the team is looking to work on details. 

“We are fine tuning our game, and it’s gonna be a great matchup,” Milhous said. “Temple is having a great season as well —they’re a strong team, they’re a physical team, but we are strong and we are physical as well, so it’s gonna be about fine tuning certain pieces to our game that’s gonna allow us to be the difference and be able to win.” 

The Wildcats are set to face Temple at 5 p.m. Friday evening for their second Big East game of the season.